Halloween is setting into the background, and it’s time to put your horror movie marathons in the closet alongside your all-too-predictable Star Wars costume. (Vader again? Come on.) And while November signals the real holiday rush, and all the stress that comes with it, there are two good reasons to be excited about the coming of November. One, this horrid election is almost over, and two, after weeks in the doldrums, in which Hollywood seems to have all but given up at the box office, the floodgates have opened wide with several enticing new movies to pull us back into theaters.
The big-ticket item for our Weekend Box Office Preview is, of course, Marvel’s Doctor Strange. While not everyone was caught up in the good doctor’s spell — our own Rick Marshall found it a somewhat mundane addition to the Marvel canon — this podcaster absolutely loved it. We’ll be going much deeper into why Doctor Strange works for us on today’s show, but suffice it to say that Cumberbatch’s arrogant surgeon at the beginning offers a captivating enough device to pull this story along, long before the magical visual wonderments arrive. While there are some slight issues with character development (Strange goes from novice to master surprisingly fast), Doctor Strange is an epic ride that offers plenty of reasons to dive headlong into Marvel’s third phase.
Doctor Strange is far from the only reason to hit up theaters this weekend, however. If superhero saturation has got you down, there are several other highly reviewed movies opening this weekend, not the least of which is the Mel Gibson-directed Hacksaw Ridge. Based on a true story of a conscientious objector who saved 75 soldiers in the bloodiest battle in World War II, Hacksaw Ridge is getting real kudos from the critics as a violent triumph of storytelling, using the true story to build a fast-paced and powerful narrative. Be warned, however, while Andrew Garfield’s Desmond Doss doesn’t carry a gun, everyone else on the battlefield does, and there’s plenty of gore to go around.
If neither of those are kid-friendly enough for your brood, Dreamworks’ Trolls — which stars Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, and the usual barrel full of A-list stars we expect from a big budget animated film — is also getting decent marks as a fun adventure story. Based on the little dolls whose popularity hit a zenith point at the turn of the century, the story seems to be a Smurf-like adventure, which pits an odd couple in Timberlake and Kendrick’s characters against a huge monster who has stolen all their friends from their tiny village.
But wait, there’s more! Also opening this week is the intriguing drama, Loving, which is based on another true story involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who spent nine years fighting for the rights already guaranteed them by the Constitution. Their case eventually ended up in front of the United States Supreme Court, and the film, starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, is getting excellent reviews. Finally, there’s a new documentary narrated by Daisy Ridley called The Eagle Huntress, which follows a 13-year-old Mongolian girl as she trains to be the first women to complete her family’s ancient tradition of Golden Eagle hunters. The movie is said to be gorgeously shot, and it’s an intriguing premise, though it’s probably just as easy to find it on VOD at this point.
It’s amazing to see three or four movies hovering around 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes after such a paltry few weeks at the theater, but it’s not all box office this week, of course. We’ve also got plenty of other bits to be excited about, not the least of which is the new Wonder Woman trailer, which again showcases the film’s gorgeous mythical island landscapes, dark and dirty World War II action, and perhaps the baddest lady ever to pick up a shield. The new trailer has more of everything we’ve dug so far about DC’s latest production, including more golden lasso action, plenty of slow-motion bullets flying through the air, and all-around epic exploits from the one-and-only Gal Gadot. We’ll be breaking down the trailer in today’s episode, and getting people even more excited for what we hope will be a steadying tentpole for DC’s critically flailing Extended Universe.
Wonder Woman was far from the only film that premiered an epic trailer this week. We also got a peek at the new Ryan Reynolds/Jake Gylenhall sci-fi adventure, Life, a story about a single-celled organism from outer space that lands on a small space station — and, presumably, proceeds to destroy everyone on board. While it may not be the most original premise we’ve seen, the movie looks tense and intriguing, and the space scenes look beautiful. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation‘s impressive Rebecca Ferguson looks particularly emotionally distraught in the scenes we’ve glimpsed so far, so this could be a fun one.
There’s so much more to discuss this week, including the trailer for the sequel to Trainspotting that was 20 years in the making, T2: Trainspotting, another director leaving The Flash, Defenders news, and so much more! So tune in for our live show today at 2 p.m. PT, or take our podcast along with you by following the links above.
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